Eyes upon the eyesApril 12, 2009
The title comes from a poem written as the NYC Independent Media Center was being surrounded by police at a protest in 2004. The reference has been on my mind what with the threats – many state-sponsored – independent media activists face in Colombia, and the persistence of my heroes at Prensa Rural, who continue to accompany and amplify movement voices in seemingly ever more dangerous regions, far beyond what’s visible on their site.
Let’s start with gratitude to an awesome Bay Area radio show, La Raza Chronicles on KPFA, for giving Latin American social movements a voice on US airwaves, and featuring this blog last week.
I’ve been asked by folks in the US what media projects exist here. I encourage Spanish-reading folks (ACIN, Prensa Rural and the IMC have some articles in English) to check these below. But all the links to the right are foreign sites in English.
- Noticias UNO – the only progressive Colombian cable news. Sadly, hard to find offline
- Red de Prensa Alternativa del Suroccidente de Colombia – although encumbered by a difficult layout, this site has a good video archive
- Rebelión – maintained by an international collective of volunteer activist translators
- Prensa Rural – the only media activists focused on amplifying & capacitando campesino movements
- ACIN Communications Collective – news on indigenous movements in the southwest
- Colombia IMC
- Desde Abajo – these folks also produce one of the few widely available Left print newspapers
- Anarcol – anarchist news from Colombia and around the world
- Colectivo Vivo Arte
- Antena Mutante – Medellín-based collective, known for live streaming video of events, and who have facilitated a unique occasional partnership between Colombian and Oaxacan artists
That’s the good news. But since activists often receive threats or worse after being singled out in public by government officials, the “official” line is worth keeping in mind. So many challenges even to mundane journalism. Here’s some video with subtitles by CIP featuring “footage of some of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s recent attacks on journalists and peace activists, in some cases falsely tying them to terrorist groups.”
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Hollman Morris, ironically enough, won a press freedom award. Uribe’s comments were immediately denounced by folks in many places, and have provoked an international campaign to protect human rights defenders and journalists, currently in formation.